I stop by the roadside,
lured by bushel baskets angled seductively
towards traffic; their depths filled with color.
I lift an apple here, prod a cantelope there;
my hands heft a honeydew up so I can see
if too many hands have bruised its yellow skin.
A misspelled sign that reads "Hep Yoursef" waves
above a flat of summer plums gone too soft to sell.
A cardboard box of peaches
sits by itself at the end of the basket row,
the scent of it wafts thick on a scant breeze.
The vendor, a young boy, motions that I take one-
"Try 'er, mister; there's none sweeter..."
So I pick one, its soft fur tickles my palm.
Yellow gone to orange gone to red, ripe for the eating,
it holds the shape of my fingers in its flesh
the way heat-reddened skin holds the blanch.
I bring it to my mouth, feel the soft shell of it pop
under my teeth, a surrender of warm meat and pit.
I bend forward, fruit cupped in my hand- its juice runs
between my fingers, lays like honey on my chin.
I lick them clean, my tongue sweet against my skin-
Should I ever love a man, it will taste like this.